How to get a driving license in Korea

Ahh, long asked question: How to get a driving license in Korea. Well, I think it’s fairly easy to exchange a South Korean driving license, however, it proves to be quite difficult and you need some money to get a driving license if you can’t afford to exchange. I will go over both options about how to get a driving license in South Korea.

Picture of a Kia steering wheel - how to get a driving license in Korea

How to get a driving license in Korea

So one of the first reasons you think about how to get a driving license in Korea is because you want to rent a car or you want to own a car and be able to drive a car and explore the beautiful country. There are a number of things that can be done to get a driver’s license in Korea that make it very easy to get from a popular city to a destination.

I got my driving license in Korea in 2020 and have been driving in South Korea for over 2 years now and own my own car 6 months after I got my Korean driving license.

Age 20 for Korean driving license.

How to exchange a foreign license in Korea

I find that this is the best and most effective way to do things. I exchanged my driving license in Korea.

List of countries where Korean driving license is valid

First, you need to see if your driving license is inconsistent in exchange for a driving license in Korea. This varies depending on your visa and what country / state your driving license came from.

To get a valid list you can visit the Korean Road Test website here.

In addition, if your country is not on the list, don’t worry. Just give a call to Seoul Global Center and they can provide more information on 02-2075-4180. My state was not listed, but I was able to exchange it very easily.

All you need to do is exchange a foreign license in Korea

If you plan to take the easy route of exchanging your driving license for a Korean driving license, you will need some things before exchanging your foreign license in Korea.

  1. Your original driving license is the country from which you plan to exchange it. Don’t worry about it because you can easily get it back if you need it again.
  2. Apostille for your driving license. You can send a scanned copy or photocopy to this company ([email protected]) and pay by PayPal or Korean bank transfer. They were able to send documents very quickly and efficiently.
  3. Original passport
  4. Certificate of Information – Exit and Entry Requirements (Korean Name) – You can easily get it from your 주민 for about 1,000 Won.
  5. Alien Registration Card (ARC)
  6. 3 color passport photos
  7. Health examination ~ KRW 6,000 and usually only one eye examination
  8. License processing fee ~ KRW 7,500

How to get an international driving license in Korea

If you do not have a valid driving license from another country, the next step is to take a Korean drivers course.

Taking a Korean driver course

There are 3 parts to the test that you need to take.

3 main elements for the class.

  1. Driving license in Korea: Written test of Korean driving license
  2. Driving license in Korea: Course driving and testing
  3. Driving license in Korea: On-road test

If you plan to take the test in English, Anyang Driving School is the only English class available to get a driving license in Korea. Anyang Driving School is the only driving school in Korea that has an English driving test system and is approved by the government. They have English-speaking instructors and they guarantee the easiest and shortest way to get a Korean driving license.

The average cost for all classes is approximately 649,000 KRW (3-month credit card install payments possible) + not including a government fee (test fee: 150,000 KRW).

Written test of Korean driving license

Written exam course

Now from what I have heard from other foreigners, the test is fairly simple and comparable to other countries, especially if you already have driving experience and have previously had a driving license in another country. However, if you do not have any driving experience, you must study and I also recommend that you take the course before taking the test.

If you are looking for an English driving license textbook, you can easily pay for one at Anyang Driving School and pay for the course as well.

Once you have completed the written course, you can take the test at the local Korean Driving License Examination Office. You can find all the offices in Korea here.

Course driving and testing

Driver's test in the course - Korean driver's license

This is followed by on-course driving exercises and tests. You will take several times to do the driving course with an instructor who will show you how to pass the test. This is actually one of the most difficult parts for foreigners because it is a timely and computerized test in the car. You need to hear a lot when you have to do specific commands in the car. Most of this is in Korea and it can be quite frustrating and scary.

I highly recommend taking the course to pass this. I had a friend who had been driving for over 20 years who repeatedly failed to do so. Once he took the course, he realized that there was no way anyone with common sense could pass the exam. To pass it he must take the course honestly.

You can take courses and test everything at Anyang Driving School. It takes about 2 days for 4 hours daily to complete. You need to make a reservation for an English teacher as they are usually booked very quickly.

On-road test

You need to book it at your nearest Korean Driving License Examination Office. You can find all the offices in Korea here.

The on-road test can be quite scary so I suggest you take it on Ansan. I recommend you visit the routes on YouTube to make this driving license area the easiest and ready for testing. Here are 4 different routes you need to take and it will show you the way to each one.

Ansan Driving Test Center

Address: 352, Hwanghwan-ro, Danwon-gu, Ansan-si, Gyeonggi-do

It is a fairly quiet and small town which makes it a good place to give your on-road driving test.

YouTube driving video for Ansan Driving Test Center

After you pass your on-road test, you can wait in line and pay for your driving license at the office. That’s it, you completed all the tests and finally got your driving license in Korea.

Car rental company for new Korean driving license

Once you have your driving license in Korea, most rental companies require at least one year of your license, including SoCar. However, there are some car rental companies that will let you rent with them. The first ones I rented when I got my license were through AVIS and Lotte Rental Car Company.

Bought a car in South Korea

If you want to stay for a while but are unsure about investing heavily in an expensive new car, then used cars are fairly affordable and cheap. You can find several places that sell to foreigners and the most popular location is to see Robert’s used cars.

Getting car insurance in South Korea

There are many options for getting car insurance in South Korea, however, I would like to give you some tips to help you reduce the cost. Car insurance in South Korea is usually paid annually and averages about 1 million won a year, however, if you drive for a long time in your country, you can get your car insurance record back home (assuming you have never had an accident before). And forward it to your car insurance company.

I use Samsung Fire as my car insurance because they provide English support which I knew I needed. They have an English line that is available during business and the insurance agent I used also speaks English. I used Jane from Samsung Fire, you can contact her on 010-3347-0294.

Regarding using Samsung Insurance Road Service, you can contact English Business Line on 02-2119-2911 during business hours. For after-hours, unfortunately, it can be reached 24/7 in Korean and at 1588-5114.

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